New Name, Same Game: EmpoWWering Charlotte Through Music and Film

  • Categories:

    Community, Work

  • Date:

    March 1, 2022

New Name, Same Game: EmpoWWering Charlotte Through Music and Film

Community Work

The rights and beliefs of minority groups are often not recognized, accepted or encouraged in the public eye. In fact, generations of marginalized individuals have fought to be heard and understood. But We Rock Charlotte is working to change that way of thinking.

We Rock Charlotte, formally known as Girls Rock Charlotte, announced its new name at Wray Ward’s office last week. We were thrilled to host the event celebrating this nonprofit organization centered on music and film education. The 100% volunteer-run We Rock Charlotte empowers girls, women and gender-diverse youth and adults to raise their voices and be their true selves, regardless of societal differences such as age, race, economic status, ability, or gender expression and identity. By promoting and respecting various identities, We Rock Charlotte allows its members to learn about, collaborate with and openly accept one another.

“There are so many groups, even within the youth population, that are silenced,” said Kelly Finley, founder and executive director of We Rock Charlotte. “Youth have something to say, and they need a constructive, inspiring and powerful way to say it.

“We teach them a powerful way to use their voice.”

We Rock Charlotte hosts a number of workshops, retreats and camps with music and film aspects, all of which aim to amplify attendees’ voices and help create a more equitable and inclusive world. Previous activities include a feminist book club, a women’s rock retreat and leadership training workshops. We Rock Charlotte also hosts two types of summer camps for kids and teens, one focused on rock and one on film. Through these experiences, attendees can learn skills such as playing an instrument or storytelling through screenwriting and directing.

A New Direction

In late 2020, when the organization was still known as Girls Rock Charlotte, its leaders applied to Wray Ward’s EmpoWWer service-grant program in search of a fresh name. They felt that their previous name did not accurately depict their members and what the organization stood for as a whole. For starters? They needed a new name and logo that embodied a giant step forward … without losing the organization’s essence, history or mission.

“We always needed and wanted to consistently reflect and celebrate the youth that we serve, but we had a complex problem we could not solve alone, and we needed Wray Ward’s help,” Finley said. “We had to reconcile a proud history with an ever-changing language and culture, and we knew Wray Ward would guide us in the right direction to do just that.”

Now known to the world as We Rock Charlotte, the organization has reinvented itself. By changing the word “girls” to “we,” they’ve adopted a name that is not only more inclusive in terms of gender and identity, but can now also encompass people outside the organization including family members, supporters and the community at large to provide a more coherent sense of togetherness.

Preparing for the Future

The new logo has two “rock on” hand signs blending to form the shape of the letter W — the letter represents the W in the organization’s new name. The lightning bolts serve as a origin source for the hands, illustrating strength and power. Because you can form the logo with your hands, it moves beyond a visual symbol, becoming an interactive element that tells a larger story and emphasizes the importance of We Rock Charlotte’s united community.

“Our new name and logo reflect our internal evolution and culture as well as the youth that we work with and inspire,” Finley said. “They’re so beautifully symbolic. The logo acts as a protest message of disruption, which is a part of our history that we are proud of. It also reveals the letter W in conjunction with the new name, which highlights the welcoming aspect of the organization.”

In addition to receiving name and logo concepts and applications, We Rock Charlotte also received insights data about their audiences, messaging and other brand-defining elements.

Thanks largely to Wray Ward’s 2021 FORM internship team, they received additional creative assets and strategies to help guide the We Rock Charlotte rebrand.

We Rock Charlotte received:

  • A photography perspective plan outlining technical characteristics for the website and social platforms, including those to avoid

  • A website concept plan including information architecture analysis, visual mockups and layout design with the new name and logo

  • A promotional video with new assets, such as the updated logo and color palette, that could be cross-posted on multiple platforms

  • A communications strategy alongside public relations tools, such as media lists and pitches, to help build awareness and drive traffic to the new brand

  • An organic social media plan with accompanying tactics and a rebrand launch event proposal

“We truly could not have asked for a more perfect fit with the FORM team,” Finley said. “The intern cohort that worked with our organization had passion and talent, and they understood the culture of the individuals with whom we engage. Having younger voices is what we are all about, and that is what made (the partnership with FORM) such a unique and perfect fit for us.”

We Rock Charlotte continues to use music and film as a tool for empowerment through their rebrand.

“In 2022, we’re excited to announce an ambitious summer camp expansion to even more youth across the Charlotte community,” Finley said. “We’re also heading toward year-round engagement and will be doing music lessons and more youth programming at our HQ.”

Want to know more about the EmpoWWer program? Feel free to visit the EmpoWWer page or email with any questions.

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